March is National Disabilities Month, but in my family we observe this designation every day. Our fourth child, Jonah, has Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic mutation that can cause (as it does in our son’s case) a constellation of symptoms including global developmental delays and autistic-like behaviors. My sister is afflicted by both physical disabilities… Continue reading My Worlds Converge: A Personal Story About My Special Needs Son and The Contraction of Education Reform
I’ve been keeping a close eye on New York City’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program since Mayor Bill de Blasio first triumphantly announced his signature initiative in 2014. I read every press release about what would happen… and compared it to what actually happened. I explained why, despite posters insisting it was so, UPK was neither… Continue reading Universal Pre-K Closes Without Warning, Kids Left With Nowhere To Go: Parents Tell All!
I had a whole blog post planned out about yet another example of educational disparities on Long Island when I read this in ERASE Racism: The vast majority of Long Island students attend low‐ and average‐need districts. Only 14% of all Long Island students attend high‐need districts. There are, however, extremely large racial and… Continue reading Complaining Doesn’t Win Educational Revolutions – Civic Engagement Does! Here Are Some First Steps from Your Local Activist.
How is it that a White teacher — at a professed Christian school, no less — can go before her students dressed up in Black face and a dashiki during an assembly about Africa? In New York. as well as other states, the act of “conduct unbecoming” is a judgement that can get a teacher… Continue reading Hey, Racist White People, Burn your Black Face Makeup Kits The Way You Burn Your Crosses And Just Stop!
In the January issue of Big Apple Parents Paper, author James Breakwell asserted, “Nobody has secret math. Math at one school will be the same as it is at another school even if the other school has a swimming pool and a polo field.” That is… an astounding amount of privilege. Breakwell (a pseudonym) is… Continue reading The Big Con: Why NYC’s Plan For Raising Student Achievement Isn’t Close To Good Enough For All Kids
New York City students completed taking their Regents exams last week, which led to a rather spirited discussion between my high school freshman and me as to whether Algebra 2, which my son passed at the end of 8th grade, should continue to be a graduation requirement or whether New York should get rid of… Continue reading Should New York Require Algebra 2 For Graduation? Answers from a NYC High School Student
When word of a snowstorm predicted to hit New York City over Martin Luther King Day weekend first surfaced, I sent out an email to my mailing list letting them know that the public school Gifted & Talented testing scheduled for that weekend might also be cancelled, and how to maximize their strategy for rescheduling.… Continue reading Kids Left Waiting In the Cold as NYC Public Schools Cancel G&T Testing – But Don’t Notify Parents!
“I put him in that group on purpose,” my son’s math teacher told us during Parent-Teacher conferences. “The other students were having trouble understanding some of the concepts and I knew your child could help explain them.” This isn’t my son’s first time at this rodeo. A few years ago, his Computer Programming teacher flat… Continue reading In Mixed Ability Classrooms, Who Is Really Doing the Teaching?
Fifteen years ago when I began my journey as an education advocate, I was in it for myself. More specifically, for my son Jonah, who has multiple disabilities stemming from a genetic mutation called Fragile X Syndrome. I saw my quest as securing a high-quality seat for my boy in a school that would provide… Continue reading The Dead Canary: The Problems Within NYC’s Special Education System Signify Global Dysfunction
This is a guest post by Raymond Ankrum, Sr., the Executive Director of Riverhead Charter School. It was originally posted here on his blog. I work on Long Island as a school superintendent of the only K-12 charter school in Suffolk County. Given the history of our school, the power of the teacher’s union on LI,… Continue reading The Entitlement of Opting Out in Suburbia: A Superintendent Speaks Out.